Please Notarise my Certificate

Do you need me to “Certify” your document? – Please read this blog before asking me to certify your Degree or other professional qualification document.

Often I will be asked to add my Notarial stamp to professional papers. My certificate will be needed to support a job application whether for an Engineer or a Doctor, maybe a Teacher or any other qualified person.

The prospective employers or the Visa authorities for the Country concerned will have asked for this Notarisation. Typically the instructions received from abroad will be vague and will not make it certain or clear what is required.

In principle I think that what is required must be one or other of the following –

First, I as the Notary might be required to confirm that my client actually is qualified – that Mr Smith is a Doctor, or is a qualified Engineer or has a PHD etc. Clearly if I am being asked to say this then my job must involve checking whether the document which is submitted to me is in fact genuine. So if I am given a Degree Certificate from the University of Oxford it will be necessary for me to contact that University and find out whether the certificate is genuine. Then I can mark upon the original or a copy of the original my endorsement that the document and its contents are genuine.

However in many cases the foreign jurisdiction does not require this from the Notary. So, secondly, what might actually be required is that the person who says that he is an engineer should come to my office and make that assertion. I will document this fact in my records and write upon the photocopy of the purported Degree certificate produced to me “This is a true copy of the original certificate produced to me today – original not verified”.

It will be obvious that second option can be concluded much more quickly and therefore be cheaper than the first. But we cannot do this if Option One is actually needed, so we must make certain. Easier said than done in many cases because some foreign bureaucracies can be impenetrable .

I cover this subject in more detail in an earlier blog called “Understanding the Jargon”, but I thought it worth repeating as a separate document because it is a point which arises again and again.

Knowing the Law IS Essential – But It ISN’T Everything

Proper Presentation of your Documents – More Than Half the Battle?

As a Notary Public since 1993 [and a solicitor since 1977 until 2007] I hope that you can take it as read that I have the legal knowledge to do my job.
Although there is no doubt that a solid background in the law is essential, it is so often my wealth of knowledge of practice and procedure in foreign countries which is of crucial value to my clients.

After all, you want your documents to be accepted out there in China, Jamaica, wherever it is, first time.

Usually there is no second chance – particular in relation to court cases. For example in Turkey, this month at Eastertime – when my client’s [fraudulent?] litigation opponent made a summary application to have the case struck out. This meant that my client and I in England had to make immediate response – preparing the necessary Papers and obtaining expedited legalisation with the Foreign Office in London (which of course closes its doors during Bank holidays) by Courier – to facilitate onward Courier to the Court in Turkey at a time of maximum inconvenience.

Because of the infrastructure of Couriers and London Agents which I can call upon, and my knowledge of what is needed, we can repel the opportunist tactics of our opponent

Just as it would have been no good to send that document without its Apostille – so as a Notary in England I need to know, and point out to clients, that your French Power of Attorney will be invalid unless next to the signatures they handwrite “Bon pour Pouvoir”

On the other hand for Deeds in Florida US when you are asked to “write your signature” do not think that this means that you are asked to make your signature! – What is actually needed is that you handwrite your name. Who knew! These are the little but crucial details which only experience can teach.

More like that?

As a Notary I need to know
* which countries will accept documents from England in the English language
* which require the text to be in the foreign language or
* which require the document to be in two language columns.
* In the case of documents for UAE the fee for a legalisation stamp on your Power of Attorney when you appoint a lawyer there may be £20 – however if you appoint a firm of lawyers rather than the individual lawyer the fee increases to £400.
* some countries will accept a bundle of many documents all bound together with one legalisation stamp but other countries will reject this.
* an Apostille cannot be attached to a copy of an Academic Qualification unless I certify the bonafides of the educational institution.
* in no circumstances will an Apostille be attached to any English Birth Certificate, Death Cert or Marriage Certificate as these are Crown Copyright
* I can advise that your document for Saudi requires not only the stamp of the Notary but that of 1 the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and of 2 the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce and of 3 the Saudi Consulate.
* I have already written blogs about the complexities of the Indian requirement.
* And of course, BLACK INK is essential for documents to be used in Italy and South Africa whereas BLUE is preferred in USA Florida.
* There is no end to this list!

None of these points above could really be categorised as being matters of law but in order to ensure that my clients’ documents are accepted abroad first time, the background of my knowledge in these matters is essential.